On March 22, 2013, Dr. David Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics and Director of the Harvard-NIOSH Education and Research Center at HSPH; Dr. Stefanos Kales, Associate Professor and Director of the Occupational and Environmental Residency at HSPH; and Dr. Charles Czeisler, Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at HMS; participated in an international convention in Bologna, Italy, “Excessive daytime sleepiness, work and road safety.”
The Meeting Co-Presidents were Dr. Francesco Saverio Violante, Professor of Occupational Medicine at the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna and Director of the Occupational Medicine OU at the Sant’Orsola Malpighi Hospital Bologna; Dr. Alberto Cicognani, Professor of Legal Medicine at the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna; Dr. Agostino Baruzzi, Scientific Director at the IRCCS Institute of Neurological Sciences; Dr. Christiani; and Maurizio Reggiani, Director of Research & Development at Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. Dr. Maria C. Nucci, an occupational medicine physician at the Sant’Orsola Malpighi Hospital in Bologna and at Lamborghini S.p.A., played a key role in the organization and logistics of the convention. The conference was dedicated to the memory of Professor Pasquale Montagna, eminent neurologist at the University of Bologna.
The convention was organized by the Occupational Medicine Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, in partnership with Harvard School of Public Health, Automobili Lamborghini, Italdesign Giugiaro, and Ducati Motor. The Occupational Medicine Unit at Bologna is responsible for health surveillance, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases related to work performance, and also provides pathology services relevant to occupational and environmental medicine.
The convention was aimed at specialists in occupational health, neurology, legal medicine, hygiene, and public health, with the intention to improve the strategies of prevention of road accidents through the comparison between medical science and technological research of the automotive industry. Participants were provided with updated knowledge regarding shift work and health risks, including excessive daytime sleepiness and work eligibility, medical legal issues based on the current law, and innovative approaches to identify sleepiness and falling asleep involuntarily. The conference also served to discuss diagnostic methods and to present technical devices for the identification of critical surveillance levels.
The meeting was part of the research project “Excessive daytime sleepiness and road accidents: specific risks in the transportation of waste and toxic substances of relevant ecological impact,” which is funded by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land, and Sea. The project will validate a new technology to detect daytime sleepiness (by recording slow eyes movements, or SEMs) in order to develop a device to monitor drivers carrying waste material with significant environmental impact.